10 Ridiculously Easy Ways To Save On Summer Vacation
July 16, 2017
Summers are for vacations. If you're still planning a summer trip, these vacation hacks will help you get the most mileage out of your vacation fund:
1. "Halve" your cake — and eat it, too!
Whether you travel with another family and share a vacation rental, share an entree or dessert with your significant other, or pack a few meals for the road to reduce the cost of road trip food — finding ways to split the costs is a great way to make your vacation funds go twice as far. Do a little research and get the whole family involved; people do Disney World or the Wisconsin Dells on the cheap every day and have a great time doing it. It’s all about where you choose to spend, and where you choose to save.
2. $ Marks the Spot
Not all vacation spots are created equal, so if you’re deciding to travel, keep that in mind. This is especially true if you’re dreaming of an international vacation; destinations like Thailand or South America are substantially cheaper than places like Italy or Iceland, both in travel and in day-to-day living expenses. Pay particular attention to peak travel times as well, as you may enjoy fewer crowds and stronger bargaining power off season.
3. Take a hike
There are many amazing things hiking has to offer: it is a family-friendly, low-intensity workout full of fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and lots of shade in the summer time. Also, it’s super cheap. Make a point to seek out a state or national park whenever you travel and soak up the natural break in routine. Start with the National Park Service
and start exploring!
4. Pound pavement
If the city life is more exciting to you, there are still massive ways to save while you see what the metro life has to offer. Local deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are full of ways to take advantage of local events, sites, shows, and activities. Travel like a local on public transportation to cut down on cab fares, and witness the city, and its people, in their natural environment.
5. Wing it
Finding the cheapest flights today takes a little courage and creativity. Did you know that round trip tickets aren’t always the cheapest ways to fly? Experiment with one-way tickets or allow for multiple airlines and airports. Consider flying midweek to snag those low-density discounts.
6. If you fly, don’t park
Airport parking can really eat into your vacation fund. Ask a reliable family member or friend to drop you off and pick you up from your flight, or find a nearby hotel that offers park-and-fly packages at a fraction of airport parking fees. You’ve saved hard for this vacation—don’t let your car eat your budget by just sitting there.
7. Pay with cash (or cash equivalent)
One way to stay on budget with your vacation is to set firm limits on your daily and total spend. An easy way to do this is to plan to pay for everything with cash. You can either hit a Northwestern Bank ATM before you go, or look for one of hundreds of ATMs around the country in the Shazam network to avoid pesky fees from other banks. You can also set up a separate vacation spending account, with its own debit card, to hold yourself accountable without loading down your pockets with change.
8. Bring your ID
You’ll always need your driver’s license or passport, but don’t forget to bring any military, student, or discount IDs with you while you travel. Membership to the national zoo network, park programs, museum networks, and other discount programs could offer substantial discounts over individual admissions; they also offer a great way to organize and plan a vacation if you use them as the landing points for your route.
9. Saving is relative
Especially when you can stay with relatives. Put the word out that you’re traveling and looking to see as many people as possible while you are out in the world, and you’re bound to have someone offer to host you. Bring a thank you gift, and don’t overstay; just a night or two can offer tremendous savings as well as the opportunity to catch up with loved ones and create new memories. Don’t forget to take a group picture before you leave!
10. Stay Home
“Ummm…what?” you ask. Sometimes the best vacations are the ones you take from normal life, even if you remain in your normal setting. Hire a maid service for the week and take a vacation from housework. Explore different restaurants over the weekend and remove yourself from kitchen duty. Plan a day trip to a local park, lake, or campground and leave your lawn to its own devices. The money you’d spend in these ways is far less than an elaborate vacation and may leave you twice as refreshed with half the laundry.
Vacations and breaks in routine should never be seen as a luxury; they are necessary for a full and balanced life. Remember: You are saving money for a reason. Set aside an amount for summer and family fun, and make a point to use it wisely and joyfully. You’ve earned it.
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